Skip to main content

The New York Times reports that Eight Are Charged With Chilean Singer’s 1973 Murder After Military Coup

SANTIAGO, Chile — Eight retired army officers were charged on Friday with the murder of a popular songwriter and theater director, Víctor Jara, who was tortured and killed days after the 1973 military coup in a stadium that had been turned into a detention center.

 Judge Miguel Vásquez charged two of the former officers, Pedro Barrientos and Hugo Sánchez, with committing the murder and six others as accomplices. Mr. Sánchez, a lieutenant colonel, was second in command at the stadium. Mr. Barrientos, a lieutenant from a Tejas Verdes army unit, currently lives in Deltona, a city southwest of Daytona Beach, Fla., and was interrogated by the F.B.I. earlier this year at the request of a Chilean court. Attempts to reach Mr. Barrientos for comment were unsuccessful; his two listed telephone numbers had been disconnected.

Judge Vásquez issued an international arrest warrant against Mr. Barrientos through Interpol Santiago and ordered the arrest of the other seven, who were in Chile. Those charged as accomplices are Roberto Souper, Raúl Jofré, Edwin Dimter, Nelson Hasse, Luis Bethke and Jorge Smith.

Who was Victor Jara?
His Wiki page has a good brief bio.
Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbiktor ˈliðjo ˈxaɾa marˈtines]) (September 28, 1932 – September 16, 1973) was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, political activist and member of the Communist Party of Chile. A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe. Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government. Shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973, he was arrested, tortured and ultimately shot to death with 44 bullet shots by machine gun fire. His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago. The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice across Latin America.

Adrian Mitchellwrote a poem about Victor which Arlo Guthrie put to music. I have it in my set list for when I do a set of protest songs which gives me the opportunity to give a little history lesson on the September 11, 1973 Coup d'état.

The poem.

Victor Jara of Chile
Lived like a shooting star
He fought for the people of Chile
With his songs and his guitar
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Victor Jara was a peasant
He worked from a few years old
He sat upon his father's plow
And watched the earth unfold
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Now when the neighbors had a wedding
Or one of their children died
His mother sang all night for them
With Victor by her side
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He grew up to be a fighter
Against the people's wrongs
He listened to their grief and joy
And turned them into songs
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He sang about the copper miners
And those who worked the land
He sang about the factory workers
And they knew he was their man
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He campaigned for Allende
Working night and day
He sang "Take hold of your brothers hand
You know the future begins today"
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Then the generals seized Chile
They arrested Victor then
They caged him in a stadium
With five-thousand frightened men
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Victor stood in the stadium
His voice was brave and strong
And he sang for his fellow prisoners
Till the guards cut short his song
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

They broke the bones in both his hands
They beat him on the head
They tore him with electric shocks
And then they shot him dead
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Now the generals they rule Chile
And the British have their thanks
For they rule with Hawker Hunters
And they rule with Chieftain tanks
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Arlo's version is embed disabled.

Now if there would only be as arrest warrant for Henry Kissinger, justice would served for Victor Jara and the others murdered by Pinochet and his junta.

Originally posted to Protest Music on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Rebel Songwriters, Invisible People, WE NEVER FORGET, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Group W: Resisting War.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Alma, RF, Paleo, MadRuth, NYCee, Subterranean, mickT, tiggers thotful spot, Nancy in Berkeley, mimi, cotterperson, OLinda, eeff, Mnemosyne, willyr, xynz, Cambridgemac, jamoca, bookbear, hubcap, Paulie200, TheMomCat, susans, whenwego, chuckvw, slatsg, Bill Roberts, Beelzebud, suzq, khughes1963, CitizenOfEarth, HeyMikey, zerelda, rmx2630, Gowrie Gal, nailbender, LakeSuperior, TigerMom, Dobber, Laurence Lewis, PSzymeczek, jimstaro, Burned, Steve in Urbana, markdd, palachia, turdraker, bookwoman, peacestpete, Box of Rain, terjeanderson, esquimaux, redcedar, dannyinla, emperor nobody, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, dopper0189, kestrel9000, KenBee, Matthias, Crashing Vor, joe shikspack, CTLiberal, Zwoof, Pilgrim X, justiceputnam, lazybum, doingbusinessas, blueoregon, Little, Nulwee, OHdog, PatriciaVa, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, ninkasi23, Dartagnan, karmsy, certainot, deepeco, Mangrove Blues, newpioneer, davehouck, bnasley, artisan, Aunt Martha, Wreck Smurfy, uciguy30, bewild, cacamp, gzodik, VelvetElvis, Justus, JaxDem, Involuntary Exile, tofumagoo, MrJayTee, dewley notid, mofembot, temptxan, petulans, chalatenango, BYw, forgore, JBL55, Celtic Merlin, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, bluemoonfever, McGahee220, DontTaseMeBro, spacecadet1, aufklaerer, divineorder, BigAlinWashSt, Keith Pickering, DaNang65, Larsstephens, smileycreek, SquirmyRooter, Polly Syllabic, Johnny Q, al ajnabee, ban nock, asterkitty, boomerchick, cyberpuggy, Wolf10, JWK, enhydra lutris, CorinaR, PhilJD, dradams, DRo, AnnetteK, Only Needs a Beat, Thousandwatts, sparkysmom, Williston Barrett, IndieGuy, dance you monster, a2nite, 2thanks, MartyM, Rizzo, Buckeye54, arizonablue, Hammerhand, JayRaye, unfangus, oslyn7, The Marti

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site